Monday, June 1, 2015

How to Dress Up your Smoothie Bowl

When it comes to blogging, I have two major styles: both the celiac and the pun-lover. This post, I'll admit, emerged from both forms of inspiration. First, one of the main changes that occurred in my diet post-celiac-diagnosis: a newfound love for everything smoothie bowls (Instagram proof here). Second, from the desire to write five tips on how to dress your smoothie for the ball (make that bowl).

casey the college celiac
One of my more popular pics...
Initially, I was a smoothie purist. Throw in some frozen bananas and rice milk, maybe a sprinkle of cinnamon, and call it breakfast. Looking back, though, I see less purist and more boring. Because, as soon as I changed up my fruits, adds some veggies and sprinkled on a handful of granola, my taste buds were never going back! To ease away some of the bumps from your smoothie journey (texture pun, obviously intended), here are my top five tips on taking your cool treat from refreshing to fantastic!

1. Thick and creamy equals dreamy. It's relatively easy to turn any of your favorite smoothie recipes into a smoothie bowl with a few slight adjustments. First, cut the liquid! Because I like my smoothies as close to ice cream consistency as possible, I add only as much liquid (usually in the form of coconut milk or, most recently, cooled green tea) as my blender needs. Lite or full fat canned coconut milk also punches up the creamy factor.

A few creamy secrets...
Next, use frozen ingredients whenever possible. I tend to freeze fresh fruit and buy it pre-frozen depending on price. These frozen ingredients not only keep your smoothie cold, but also increase its thickness. For a two-for-one punch, choose creamy fruits (bananas, mangoes, cantaloupe, avocado) as bases. Adding coconut (or your choice of) yogurt can help with creaminess, while a spoonful of (ground or whole) chia seeds can further thicken your mix!

2. Pull a Popeye and pump up the veggie power. Vegetables are rarely the star of any meal, especially breakfast. Smoothie bowls, however, are great ways to sneak in extra servings. I recommend starting small, such as tossing in a handful of leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, whatever floats your taste buds). I promise - you won't even taste the vitamin boost!

casey the college celiac
Are you green with envy yet?
More adventurous vegetables perfect for smoothie-ing also exist! I consistently base my smoothies off of frozen slices of zucchini and squash, which add volume with little calories and lots of nutrients. I also toss in celery, frozen beet chunks, parsnip slices, cucumber, carrots, and even broccoli when I have it! Moral of the story? When in doubt, give a veggie a try! As long as you balance it out with enough fruits and flavorings, you won't even taste the hidden greens. Bonus: beets turn your smoothie a beautiful red - love at first sight, for sure!

3. A little spice and a little sauce turns everything nice! Vanilla extract, cinnamon (probably too much!) and a superfood powder are my favorite add-ins. I have written before about my new love for spirulina powder, an algae packed with vitamins like iron, but I also am a huge fan of maca and acai powder. I've also recently started adding turmeric for its anti-inflammatory properties. If you don't have any superfood or exotic extras on hand, don't worry! Instead, experiment with cacao powder or common holiday spices like nutmeg or pumpkin spice.

Sauces and spices galore!
As for sauce, I always like to top my smoothies with something sticky and sweet. Rather than adding nuts or seeds to my smoothie pre-blending, I like to drizzle some nut butter on top! This adds an extra layer of texture, flavor and protein to my breakfast. The sauce I always crave, though? A homemade magic shell, made from a tsp or two of melted coconut oil mixed with my powder of choice. Most often, I add cacao powder for a chocolate drizzle, but I've also experimented with spirulina, acai, or even PB2. Drizzle it on a berry smoothie and you can feast on liquid PB&J!

4.  Drop fruit like its hot! Into your bowl, anyway. For me, fruit toppings should break up the creamy texture or sweet flavor of the smoothie. Some eaters swear by banana coins to top their bowls, but I prefer "fruit bombs," or fruits that will explode in your mouth. My usual go-to's?

Sliced strawberries to add tartness and a seedy texture. Blueberries for a crunchy burst of sweet and sour. And, when I have them on hand, pomegranates pack a ton of flavor for such small packages. Like vegetables, however, mix and match fruit toppings until you find the combination that you like. I've seen everything from sauteed raspberries to dragon fruit to (crazy enough!) endamame. The options really are limitless!

Just a few of my favorites...
5. Finally, crush that crunch factor! My favorite part of smoothie bowls, by far, is combining crunchy and creamy. If you follow step one, the latter is easy. For the former, I typically sprinkle (who I am kidding, it's more like dump!) a mixture of seeds/nuts, puffed rice cereal, and cacao nibs. I've also added crumbled cookies, bliss balls, leftover pancakes, and, of course, lots of homemade granola (my recipes like this one or this one are always winners!). As far as I'm concerned, the more toppings the better.

To take the crunch to the next level, though, try layering your smoothie with them. I usually pour 1/4 of my smoothie into a bowl, sprinkle some puffed rice, cacao nibs and fruit, add the rest of the smoothie and toppings. Twice the crunchy layers equals twice the bliss, not to mention extra motivation to dig to the bottom of the bowl!

Nothing like a smoothie bowl for this gal!
I'm a celiac, a pun-lover and, as this last year has shown, a full blown smoothie addict. But when its a bowl of creamy, crunchy, spiced smoothie bliss, how can I not be? Casey the College Celiac is not responsible for any addictions that may occur out of this post. However, I will take full responsibility for any spoon-lickin' good smoothie bowls born out of these tips! My favorite "punny" spoon not included.


*Also found at RunningwithSpoon's link love and Saucy Saturday!*


What's your favorite smoothie toppings? Do you have any food "addictions?" Comment below!

2 comments:

  1. Uhm. Hello. I love this post. Smoothies are the love of my life, so I always appreciate people sharing the addiction :D And I'm going to have to go with granola or cereal as a favourite topping, simply for the crunch factor. I love your idea of layering, though, so I might have to try that out one of these days!

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    1. Uhm, hello I'm so glad! Granola and cereal do give awesome crunch! But I'm a toppings addict so I'm a big fan of all of them! :P

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